Bathroom Exhaust Problems

Posted by on May 16, 2017 in Bathroom, Blog, Home Care Tips |

During my more than 15 years inspecting homes, I have seen many issues caused by bathroom exhaust fans and ducting.  A lot of time the issues can cause high humidity, condensation, mold, and structural roof damage, all potential health concerns and possible major repair costs. I have seen these issues over and over when most can be repaired and avoided.     These fans are called “supplemental exhaust” in OBC according to the Ontario and Canadian Building codes.  They provide additional ventilation to a high humidity area of a home.  According to the Building Code a bathroom is required to have either natural ventilation (a window that opens) or mechanical ventilation (an exhaust fan) for ventilation.  The five most common issues with bathroom exhaust fans you should know and look for are: The fan is noisy!  If the fan is used every day, in time it will wear out (the motor or bearings) and begin making noise upon start up or continuously during operation. It’s time for replacement.  This can usually be done without damage to ceiling by just swapping out the old fan and motor while on a ladder in the room.  Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions and turn off electrical power to the fan. The fan does not suck! By this I mean it does not suck much air at all.  How do you know?  A quick test all inspectors use is to take one piece of toilet paper and place it against the fan grill on the ceiling.  If the fan can’t suck enough air to hold it then it SUCKS and there is a problem! Either the fan is old and it needs to be replaced or the exhaust is blocked. Sometimes I’ve seen a fan wired backwards and its blowing air instead of sucking.  Usually if the fan is old, making more noise than normal, and it is not sucking, more than likely it just needs to be replaced. The duct going through the cold attic is not insulated. According to OBC (3) the duct must be insulated.  The reason for this is to help stop condensation.  It’s a cold -20C winter day and you are having a shower, the warm moist air rises quickly to the ceiling in the bathroom and the fan is pulling this air into the flexible ducting.  The attic temperature is close to the outside temperate and definitely cold.  The warm moist air meets the cold surface of the inside of the duct and instantly causes condensation.  This is bad.  The moisture could run back to the fan and leak on to the drywall ceiling or leak on to the insulation both probably causing mould...

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5 Things to Check Outside of Your Home this Spring

Posted by on May 9, 2017 in Blog, Home Care Tips |

Spring is here, or near depending where you live, so now that the snow is gone you should have a look outside your house to find those things that may need to be addressed. Walk around your home and look up at the roof to check your shingles. Can you see any damaged shingles? . With high wind and loose shingles you can get the odd shingle flipped over and torn off.  Walk across the street and look at your roof from a distance. A missing shingle will be pretty obvious.  A few shingles can be replaced easily by a knowledgeable handyman, or if your shingles are  old call a roofing company to do temporary repair and give you a quote on replacing the shingles.   2. While looking up, walk around your house and look at the gutters and soffits. Have the soffits come loose or been damaged by pests?  Raccoons, squirrels and birds can damage the thin aluminum soffits and get access to your attic to nest.  Look for a gap between the gutter and the roof sheathing,  squirrels can get in there too.   3. While looking at exterior walls, check all your exhaust vent hoods. Do they all have there flaps and/or screens?  If they’re missing get them repaired, it’s spring and birds will be in them nesting soon.     4. Roof vents are access points for squirrels too!  I have seen some myself. If you are okay with heights and know how to climb a ladder to safely reach the peak of your roof have a look for damaged vents. If not, just hire a professional.         5. Is there any standing water around your house? Check for saturated soft soaked ground and standing water.  If the ground is still partly frozen (end of April – early May), surface water can not easily soak through the soil so if you find saturated, soft, soaking ground this means there is poor drainage and surface grading.  This surface water may work its way against your basement wall, into your sump pit and/or into your basement.  If you can not solve this issue yourself then hire a professional landscaping company.  Better to take preventative action rather than having to deal with the possible result. Who knows, if you look hard enough maybe you will make some money?  Who says it does not pay to own a home?...

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